By ALEX GOLDMAN
The name Colin Kaepernick has probably permeated some portion of your brain tissue by now.
Kaepernick plays for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. Surprise. It’s not his play that’s getting him headlines. The 49ers haven’t played a regular season game.
Not to mention the fact he isn’t even starting.
Yet he’s found himself in the news cycle in all the major — and minor — news outlets for purposely sitting, or most recently kneeling, during The National Anthem of preseason games.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.
The news media have reported on his choice of expression daily.
During a question and answer session with local journalists Marc Caputo (Politico), Patricia Mazzei (Miami Herald), and Dan Sweeney (Sun Sentinel), a student asked about the ongoing reporting of Kaepernick’s expression, including the reactions to the message. He wanted to know why news outlets continued to report on the same issue.
Caputo thought the relatively uncommon nature of Kapernick’s act was just cause, and fodder, for continued coverage.
Other athletes have joined in Kaepernick’s message. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane both took a knee during the anthem before games this past week.
While the protest has reached the soccer pitch, don’t expect any dissent in a hockey rink anytime soon. At least if John Tortorella is your coach.
On his radio show The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Jones brought up the remarks made by Tortorella, the United States National Team and Columbus Blue Jackets head coach.
“If any of my players sit on the bench for the national anthem, they will sit there the rest of the game,” Tortorella said.
I liked Jones’ take on the coach’s new rule.
“Who are you?,” Jones asked. “I’m a grown man. I get to make some of these decisions for myself. So I got to stand up for what you believe is the proper form of indoctrination.”
A coach is there to set rules, sure. He’s not there to set the moral compass of the players he coaches, however.